Arrested in New York City for possessing a gun or other weapon? You need a gun lawyer. Because when it comes to weapons, New York doesn't play.
On November 1, 2006, the state legislature elevated possession of a loaded firearm from a class D felony to a class C felony. Under Section 265.03(3) of the Penal Law:
A person is guilty of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree when . . . such person possesses any loaded firearm. Such possession shall not, except as provided in subdivision one or seven of section 265.02 of this article, constitute a violation of this subdivision if such possession takes place in such person's home or place of business.
So, a person with no criminal record, who possesses a loaded firearm outside the person's home or place of business, without a lawful basis for doing so, faces a minimum term of imprisonment of 3½ years. The maximum term of imprisonment is 15 years.
New York's gun laws are so tough that former New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress pled guilty, at the height of his playing career, under an agreement that required him to serve two years in prison.
It doesn't matter if you're licensed to carry a gun in another jurisdiction. If you're caught carrying an out-of-state-licensed gun in New York, without a lawful basis for doing so, you face serious prison time.
Of course, guns are not the only weapons whose possession is illegal in New York. Other outlawed weapons include:
electronic dart guns, electronic stun guns, gravity knives, switchblade knives, pilum ballistic knives, metal knuckle knives, cane swords, billies, blackjacks, bludgeons, plastic knuckles, metal knuckles, chuka sticks, sand bags, sandclubs, wrist-brace type slingshots or slungshots, shirkens or "Kung Fu stars", and bullets containing an explosive substance designed to detonate upon impact.
If you get caught carrying one of these per se weapons, you will need a gun lawyer.
The following weapons are outlawed if possessed with the intent to use them unlawfully against another person:
daggers, dangerous knives, dirks, razors, stilettos, imitation pistols, armor piercing ammunition, and any other dangerous or deadly instrument or weapon.
Possession of a weapon that would otherwise be classified as a misdemeanor is elevated to a class D felony if the person possessing the weapon "has been previously convicted of any crime". So, if you're accused of possessing a "gravity knife", and you've previously been convicted of any misdemeanor, such as DWI or shoplifting, you can be charged with a felony.
Also, if you've previously been convicted of a crime, the possession-in-your-home-or-place-of-business defense does not apply.
If you've been charged with possessing a gun or any other weapon, you need to explore all possible defenses, including "suppression" resulting from an illegal search and seizure.
Suppression is a remedy that courts apply where police have illegally seized evidence. When suppression is granted, the prosecutor may not introduce illegally seized evidence at your trial. So, for example, if police enter your home and search it - without a warrant, consent, or "exigent circumstances" - and find a gun inside your bedroom closet, the gun should be "suppressed". If the gun is suppressed, the prosecutor can't introduce evidence about the gun at your trial; this would typically result in the gun charges being dismissed.
The law of suppression is extremely complex. The bottom line is that police intrusion into a person's privacy must be legally justified. If not justified, then evidence seized as a result of the intrusion must be suppressed.